Wikipedia Has Officially Gone Offline As Of Today At Midnight
Okay, okay. Don’t worry too much, loyal Dr. Jay’s Live readers. Wikipedia did go offline on Wednesday morning at midnight—along with a bunch of other sites that have joined them today, including Google . But it’s not going to stay offline forever. Rather, The Site That Jimmy Wales Built is going offline on Wednesday for 24 hours in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act bill, which, if passed, would allow the U.S. government to eliminate funding for any and all foreign websites that are accused of piracy. Basically, SOPA has some good intentions behind it, but many sites are seeing it as a form of censorship that could affect a lot of other sites out there, so they’ve banded together to try and shut it down. They feel like it violates the First Amendment and could lead to drastic changes in the way that the Internet operates.
With that in mind, we applaud Wikipedia for doing what they’re doing. Wikipedia often catches a bad rap for being a site that promotes information that, quite simply, is not factual. Because much of the content on Wikipedia is generated by users and volunteers who do not get paid for their services, teachers, journalists, and other people who rely on readily-available information on the Internet have downplayed the importance of Wikipedia in the past. However, the truth is that, if you use the Internet regularly, there’s a good chance that you use Wikipedia. At the very least, Wikipedia allows people to find information and then double-check it against other sources. Thus, it’s become extremely popular.
As a result of its’ popularity, it’s great that the site is going to participate in a 24-hour blackout. By blacking out all of its’ content, Wikipedia can draw attention to the SOPA bill and show people what might happens if it passes. For their own purposes, they can also show people out there just how much they rely on Wikipedia regularly. Whether you realize it or not, you probably use Wikipedia a lot to obtain information. And, if SOPA passes, there’s a chance that that information could be unavailable to you. So read up on SOPA, speak out against it, sign petitions that aim to get it shot down, and, in general, make sure you’re paying attention to issues involving the government and Internet censorship. Combating piracy is important. But not when it puts all of our freedom of speech at risk. Thanks to Wikipedia for realizing that.